Frequently asked questions

What does a regional extension specialist do?

As University of Missouri faculty members, regional extension specialists are the bridge between the unbiased, research-based information and resources of the university and people throughout the state. Specialists conduct surveys and gather information to determine individual's educational needs. They partner with businesspersons, teachers, state and federal agency personnel, government officials, farmers and others to build coalitions to solve community problems. Regional specialists deliver educational programs through short courses, meetings, individual consultations, web pages, videoconferences, newsletters and mass media. They refer people seeking information to answers – wherever those answers can be found. They organize leadership development experiences so that citizens can deal positively with change and create their own answers.

Our faculty and staff are our most valuable resource. We invite you to contribute your expertise and strengths. There is no one right way to be an extension specialist. As an educational specialist, you are also a co-learner. You and those you serve learn from each other and together discover how best to address issues critical to Missouri’s people and communities.

Does extension value diversity?

We recognize that diversity strengthens us as an organization. What you bring to extension is valuable regardless of your gender, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, disability, military status or other factors that make you unique. We assertively emphasize diversity in programming, audiences and staffing.

Is technology important in University of Missouri Extension?  

All staff and faculty are required to have computer and Internet skills, and we encourage employees to continue learning in this area. In addition to offering face-to-face training in some situations, we provide training via the Internet and CD-ROM. Other extension employees often serve as mentors to teach colleagues technology skills.

What are your regional faculty positions? 

We hire at the master’s level and above in the following areas:

  • Agriculture:
    • Agricultural Business
    • Agriculture & Rural Development
    • Agronomy
    • Dairy
    • Horticulture
    • Livestock
    • Natural Resource Engineering
  • Business and Industry
  • Community Development
  • Continuing Education
  • Civic Communication
  • Human Environmental Sciences:
  • Consumer and Family Economics
  • Environmental Design
  • Human Development
  • Nutrition
  • Information Technology
  • 4-H/Youth Development

Current openings

How will I know if I am qualified for a field faculty position?

The first step is to review the position announcements and descriptions. If it is not clear whether you meet the qualifications for the position, check with the Human Resource Development Office, 205 Whitten Hall, UMC, Columbia MO  65211, or call 573-882-4721.

We expect a lot from our field faculty (and most tell us that they appreciate being challenged).  The core competencies list is long and demanding. Remember, we focus on life-long learning, not only for those we serve but for our faculty as well.

I’m almost finished with my master’s degree. Can I go ahead and apply before I graduate?

Yes. Master’s students are considered fully for positions if a completed application is received and your graduate advisor provides written documentation indicating the expected date you will complete all degree requirements.

Can I start working for extension before I finish my master’s requirements?

While you can submit an application and be interviewed for open positions near the end of your master’s program, any job offer will be contingent upon successfully completing your degree requirements. You may begin working in your position when those requirements are met and we receive a letter documenting the completion of the master’s degree from the granting institution.

Some states hire extension field faculty with only an undergraduate degree. Will Missouri give undergraduates a few years to earn a master’s degree after they begin work?

No. The needs and opportunities in Missouri are challenging. We believe that our citizens need more expertise, which requires at least a master's level education.

I know that extension hires at the master’s level and above for all field faculty positions. I have a Ph.D. Will I be the only one in a field faculty position with this degree?

You can expect that all field faculty members will have at least a master’s degree. It is not unusual for specialists in these positions to have a Ph.D.

How do I complete the application process?

To apply for a position follow the directions below: 

  1. Go to
  2. ‘Jobs available for prospective employees’
  3. Click on the yellow search and find the Job ID # of the position you wish to be considered for
  4. Click on the position title
  5. Click on Apply Now and follow the instructions

Please note you must upload a cover letter, resume or vita, a list of 3-5 references, and copies of all academic transcripts.  We cannot load the documents for you nor can we accept hardcopies.  Application documents must be completed online on, or before, the date stated on the position announcement. Only applications containing the four items listed above will be considered.  Should you have any problems with the on-line application system, please call 573-882-7976 and ask for assistance.

What are the steps in hiring once I’ve submitted my application?

Once a completed application is received, there are a series of steps that eventually result in employment for successful candidates:

  • References are called and carefully checked.
  • Personnel teams meet and review credentials. Applicants who meet the position qualifications and have favorable reference checks are invited for an interview.
  • Candidates are interviewed in Columbia or respective region.
  • Successful candidates are advanced to the county Extension council for the second stage of the interview process.
  • University of Missouri Extension extends an offer of employment.
  • Successful candidate accepts the offer of employment in writing.

What should I expect during an interview?

Each position will have a selection committee of four to seven members. You will find committee members to be cordial people who want you to do well. When your appointment is scheduled, the human resources representative will outline the interview process in detail. Generally, candidates are asked to make a 20-minute presentation on an assigned topic related to the position. Use of visuals is always a plus. A laptop computer and projection device will be available for your use. Overhead projectors also are available. Following your presentation, expect to field questions from the selection committee(s). Interviews usually last about one hour.

The interview also is a time for you to ask questions of personnel committee members.

Do I pay my own way if I get an interview?

University of Missouri Extension will reimburse you for reasonable and necessary expenses, including airfare, rental car costs, lodging and meals. Once an interview is scheduled, it is your responsibility to make travel arrangements. To be reimbursed, you will be provided with a voucher that must be submitted with appropriate receipts.

What benefits are offered? 

We offer generous leave from the start. Faculty members receive four paid personal leave days per year. They also receive paid vacation time. Faculty members begin with 17 vacation days per year, which increase to 22 days after five years. Together, paid vacation and personal days add up to nearly a month’s leave during the first year of work. Twelve days of sick leave are available each year.

Additional benefits include choices for tax-deferred annuities; medical, dental, and vision insurance; disability and life insurance; flexible benefits for childcare; retirement options; and a 75 percent tuition reduction.

An amount totaling up to 10 percent of your beginning salary may be available to help you hire moving services.

I want to go back to school and work on another degree at some point. Will I have to quit my job?

No, many of our regional specialists work on advanced degrees while still employed with University of Missouri Extension. In fact, we will invest in you, too. If you choose to attend the University of Missouri, we’ll pay 75 percent of your tuition.

Please contact MU Extension Human Resources for more information.

I’m professionally up to date now, however, my field is constantly changing. I’m concerned about keeping up to date while I work for extension. Do you offer professional training?

Within extension, we offer many choices for on-the-job training to enhance your skills and to grow professionally and personally.

We also encourage professional development outside of University of Missouri Extension. Specialists may request up to $600 per year to attend a national professional meeting. If you choose to attend every other year, we make $1,000 available to support your attendance.

How do I learn about the communities and counties I’ll be working and living in?

Sources of information include local chambers of commerce offices, local extension councils, web pages, and staff already working in your prospective location. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about housing, education, churches, fitness and recreation facilities.

Do I stay in my headquarter county all the time?

No. We expect that you will love the flexibility extension provides. You will work in your headquarter county and additional counties as assigned. The counties are listed in the position announcements.

We challenge you to think locally and globally. In fact, you will be encouraged to travel and learn internationally during your career with University of Missouri Extension. Programs such as the Global Leadership Exchange with Thailand and the Exploring Global Resources through Extension Training in Costa Rica offering exciting new vistas.

Do you get to (or have to) travel?

While working as a regional specialist in the assigned counties, you can expect to do some driving within the geographic assignment; however, the need to stay away from home overnight is unusual.

University of Missouri Extension hosts an annual conference, usually in the fall, that brings all faculty and staff members together. Generally, an overnight stay in Columbia is needed. Trainings and professional meetings often involve travel to the training site and overnight lodging. Extension pays for approved lodging and meals while traveling for overnight stays.

When do I get a company car?

University of Missouri Extension does not provide regional faculty with vehicles. Faculty members provide their own vehicle for business travel and are reimbursed on a per-mile basis. Faculty members are reimbursed at the IRS mileage rate in most regions and from campus sources.

What is the cost of living in Missouri?

Your money will go further in Missouri than in many places. For example, a salary of $35,000 in Columbia, Mo., buys the same level of living as:  

  • $107,000 in New York City
  • $59,800 in Denver
  • $51,000 in Los Angeles
  • $47,000 in Anchorage


How can I learn more about University of Missouri Extension?

University of Missouri Extension has a well-developed presence on the World Wide Web. You may contact our regional and campus specialists to ask questions about programming, specialty subject-matter areas and expectations of employees. You also may want to find out more about the counties where you may work. See:  

Human Resource Development
205 Whitten Hall, University of Missouri
Columbia MO 65211
Phone:  573.882.4721